iMail for Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Kansas Hydraulics Plant to Remain Open

In a move that will preserve more than 300 American manufacturing jobs, Eaton Corp. reversed an earlier decision and announced today it will continue to operate its Hutchinson, KS hydraulics facility. The announcement follows months of negotiations between the IAM, company representatives, local government officials and Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

“After talking to the president of the corporation and then talking to the representatives of the local machinists, I knew that, given a chance, that our labor leaders and workers here in Hutch could come up with an innovative package to save these jobs,” said Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius. “I’m so pleased to be here today with the announcement that we are saving jobs in Kansas.”

Local and state authorities came up with millions in cost savings and tax abatements for the company, and IAM-represented workers at the facility agreed to a three-year pay freeze. “This is all about finding new and innovative ways to make sure a company stays competitive, while protecting the workers and their families,” said Steve Rooney, IAM District Lodge 70 Directing Business Representative.

“This is an example of what unions can accomplish under challenging circumstances,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “With solid support from the community and help from public officials like Gov. Sebelius, we were able to negotiate a resolution that protected livelihoods of hundreds of hard-working Kansans. Today’s announcement would not have been possible without the leadership of District 70 DBR Steve Rooney, his staff and the solidarity of all the IAM members at Eaton.”

District 947 Organizes 516 Shipyard Workers

In a major IAM organizing victory, more than 500 electricians and technicians at NASSCO Shipyard in San Diego, CA voted to join the IAM, giving Long Beach-based District 947 their second big organizing win in less than a month.

The win at NASSCO, along with the victory just a few weeks ago for Long Beach City Professional Employees that brought 529 workers into the IAM, means District 947 has won elections bringing 1,045 workers into the IAM. The new members, who work inside large tankers and freighters, will join 490 other IAM-represented employees in the yard. 

“We had tremendous support from the people in the yard,” said Directing Business Representative Richard Sanchez. “Our Stewards and members did a great job of carrying the message to all the areas where the people are working. They did such a great job that members of other unions joined in to help us reach these workers.”

“This is a tremendous victory for the IAM, and especially for District 947,” said Western Territory GVP Lee Pearson. “There are plenty of people to thank for this victory, but it is also important to know that another union tried to intervene at the last minute, and IP Buffenbarger got involved and convinced them to back off. Congratulations to our team in San Diego and the Western Territory staff who contributed to a nice win.”

Machinists Unveil Airline Merger Team

At the direction of IP Tom Buffenbarger, the Machinists union has assembled a Transportation Merger Team to protect the interests of IAM members in any upcoming airline mergers.

“The industry has been in turmoil for several years,” said Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr.  “The IAM’s Merger Team is working under the assumption that every airline is talking to every other airline. Whichever airlines end up pairing together, we’re ready.

“Protecting IAM members’ rights through a merger or acquisition is a complex matter,” said GVP Roach. “Our success in winning representation rights and providing the IAM National Pension plan for the former America West Fleet Service employees is a clear indication of the importance and the effectiveness of the Transportation Merger Team.”

The Mechanic & Related workers at recently merged US Airways and America West will also have an opportunity to join the IAM National Pension Plan as a result of the IAM’s involvement in that merger process.

“History has demonstrated that the next step for the airline industry is consolidation,” said GVP Roach. “IAM members at the combined US Airways are already benefiting from the IAM Merger Team, and we will do the same for all IAM members involved in future mergers.”

Ft. Rucker Techs Win Big Improvements

Simulator Technicians for U.S. Army Helicopter Flight Training at Ft. Rucker, AL and a group of Weather Forecasters at the same location are the latest employee groups to see dramatic improvements in wages and benefits thanks to IAM contracts negotiated under the Service Contract Act (SCA).

Following an organizing campaign that began in December 2005, the Simulator Technicians at Ft. Rucker voted 100 percent for IAM representation. Negotiations followed under SCA guidelines and quickly produced a contract with an immediate wage increase of nearly 40 percent, a union security clause, improved vacation and a solid grievance and arbitration procedure.

The highly-skilled Weather Forecasters and Observers, also based at Ft. Rucker and employed by 3D Research/Schafer Corp., had to overcome a fierce anti-union campaign but won similar improvements with their first SCA contract. High points of their three-year accord include an immediate 43 percent wage increase with four percent increases each year thereafter and work schedules where members themselves formulate the scheduling.

“For a long time, the Service Contract Act was like a well-guarded secret. But more and more government contract workers are beginning to realize what can be achieved with IAM representation and the Service Contract Act,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “Congratulations to District 75 Business Representative Tony Blevins and the bargaining committees for negotiating contracts that prove what the SCA can do for our new members.”

After the Deluge: New York Machinists Return to Work

More than 1,000 members of Local 1529 in Sydney, NY began working regular shifts for the first time this week at Amphenol Corp. since the facility was nearly washed away in flooding earlier this year.

In late June, much of upstate New York was hit by severe storms, heavy rains and flooding. Thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed. Conditions in many areas forced the President to declare it a major disaster.

Even before the flood waters receded, hundreds of members of Local 1529 joined with salaried employees in a massive cleanup effort that is expected to have the facility operating at 100 percent capacity by September 15.

“If they hadn’t worked so hard, we might not have recovered,” said General Manager Richard Aiken. Amphenol is a major employer in the upstate New York region, making components for aerospace and other industries.

“We’re looking forward to getting back to some sense of normalcy,” said Local 1529 President Geno Campagna, quoted in The Daily Star (www.thedailystar.com). “Any time we can prove we can work together for a common goal, everyone benefits in the long run.”

Pentagon to Penalize Non-union Units with NSPS Rules

The Pentagon is in the planning stages of imposing its controversial National Security Personnel System (NSPS) for 140,000 blue-collar workers in the Defense Department (DoD), according to a report on www.govexec.com (http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0806/081706r1.htm ). The new rules, which DoD may publish in the federal register, will cover tradespersons, craftspersons and laborers such as pipe fitters and shipbuilders. The new rules will apply to non-union units pending DoD’s appeal of a court ruling that outlawed certain parts of NSPS for federal workers covered by collective bargaining agreements.

Non-union blue-collar DoD workers will make up “Spiral 2” of the NSPS. Up until now, DoD implemented NSPS for mostly white-collar Defense workers. About 360,000 of more than 700,000 DoD employess are non-bargaining unit employees and subject to NSPS rules.

“The Pentagon is charging ahead with NSPS, a system the courts have ruled unfair,” said IAM Government Employees Director Frank Carelli. “The only thing stopping DoD from imposing this unfair system on all DoD employees are the federal-worker unions. This should prove beyond any doubt that all federal workers should be union members.”